Book news

The Things We Can’t Undo | Blog Tour

I had the chance to interview the lovely Gabrielle Reid whose new novel hits shelves really soon so go grab yourself a copy!


There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.

Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other. 

Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?


What was your main motivation behind writing the novel?

I wanted to start conversations, and I wanted those conversations to really consider things from more than one side. Without going into too much detail, I’ve had some personal experiences that made me particularly passionate about the topic of consent and how inadequate “no means no” is for teaching it. Several years back, I think it was around the time of the Steubenville High School rape case, I was discussing sexual violence on a parenting forum. One comment stuck with me, along the lines of “ask a roomful of men if they’ll rape a woman and you won’t find many who will say yes. Ask them ‘would you have sex with a girl so drunk she can barely stand’ and suddenly you get a much uglier picture of what guys will admit to”. At the time, I had a baby son (and no daughters yet), so I found myself thinking very seriously about the perpetrators and whether better education could have prevented them from doing such a terrible thing to that girl.

It was hard for me to empathise with the perpetrator. Really, really hard. Before I sat down to write the book, I disliked my main character, Dylan, and was prepared to write a story where he got thoroughly smacked down for his actions, but in trying to keep it realistic, that’s not the story I ended up with. I think that’s a good sign, though, because I want this novel to be the catalyst for conversations – ones that go deeper than ‘he got what he deserved’ and right to ‘how did this happen? What did he fail to understand?’. I hope I don’t excuse Dylan’s behaviour or suggest that the consequences he faced were in any way comparable to the suffering Samantha (his girlfriend and victim) experienced, but at the same time, I want his story to be a warning to young men, their parents, teachers and girlfriends. Because it really is that easy to become a rapist.

If there is one key thing that you would like readers to take away from this book, what would it be?

That even if you think you’re a good person – even if you are a good person – your decisions can have devastating consequences, so take your choices seriously and don’t stop paying attention to how those around you feel. In my book it isn’t just Dylan who makes a decision that seriously hurts a number of other innocent people – Samantha, as well as her best friend, Tayla, respond to the crime in some drastic ways that cause a lot of pain to each other, family and friends etc

There are many budding authors out there who might be curious about the publication process so, tell us a bit about your experience getting published

The number 1 thing I guess is that it was long! There were years of writing before getting to a complete first draft, then years of editing and pitching before getting an agent. And in the end, that book isn’t the one I’ve now had published! I consider it my “apprenticeship novel” and I don’t regret the time I spent on it, because that’s where I learnt better writing, where I found an amazing writer’s group, and where I built the first positive connection with an agent. But if I hadn’t moved on to the next thing, I wouldn’t be here now. Since then I’ve continued with that same writer’s group and gleaned bits and pieces of knowledge about publishing short stories, writing query letters, how to spot a dodgy publisher… too much to share here in one go, but I’m more than happy to chat to anyone who has specific questions!

I’ve talked in a little more detail on my blog (link below) about what led me to Ford Street and what it’s been like working with my publisher, Paul. I think the process for me was a fair bit quicker than I’ve heard from other writers at major publishers, but I’m not really sure why, except that we didn’t have advance proof copies before a complete print run. There are a LOT of people involved, even with a very small publisher. I thought about it one day and it’s no wonder authors only earn a small portion of the RRP, as those books are also helping the publisher to recover the costs of a structural edit, copy edit, designer/formatter for print, cover design, printer, delivery, warehouse etc. Not to mention the retailer and all their staff! Each step was exciting for me though, as it took me one step closer to publication.

What made you drawn towards writing in the young adult genre?

I kind of fell into it, really. My first book I set out to write as adult fiction, but as one of the two protagonists was sixteen (the other was in his 70s) many people suggested it was at least a young adult crossover. When I started writing The Things We Can’t Undo, I found the words and voice came to me much more naturally, and I sought out a writer’s group of other YA authors. I’ve been writing seriously since I was a teenager, so some of my earlier stories were very YA in nature, including two novels I never finished. Then I worked as a high school teacher, and married another. I led youth group and mentored teen girls at my church; teenagers have always been a part of my life. I found those adolescent years were the ones that really defined who I am – that was when I developed my own faith, I settled into writing and creative pursuits as a real passion, my mental illness reared its ugly head, I established friendships that still last today etc.

Do you have any other projects underway that readers can look forward to?

I do, but none in the publication pipeline yet! I’m writing one that deals with eating disorders (another illness I unfortunately have firsthand experience with) and a social justice issue that is very important to me. I’m also thinking of reworking that “apprenticeship novel” into something different and more YA in nature. It’s about a young girl trying to connect with her biological father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.


FOLLOW THE AUTHOR

Website and blog: www.justkeepreiding.com

Twitter and Instagram: @reidwriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006986329392

Book reviews

Book Review ! Amelia Westlake

 

33296203Two very different girls, and one giant hoax that could change – or ruin – everything.

Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating. 

But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?


This is THE social justice book of the year

Amelia Wetslake had me in her grips from the first line of the book. It’s witty, it’s emotional but most of all it is relevant.

In an over-saturated market, it is often difficult to come across a book that has something to tell you, something to leave you with. I came out of this book feeling like I had learned a thing or two. It teaches you to stand up for what is not right and it teaches you to be courageous but most of all it teaches you to be kind

The setting of a high school is so cliche but this book puts a twist on this by adding a bit of sleuthing and a bit of romance. What I enjoyed the most was how you could sometimes feel like you were having a conversation with the author herself. The book does an amazing job of portraying how today’s youth actually have opinions about some of the most important topics.

In terms of character development, the book puts across the message that no one is ever how they seem as in there is always more to a human being than what meets the eye.

The stand out point of the novel is definitely the dialogue within the novel itself and the dialogue it encourages. Readers such as yours truly are left with an urge to sit people down and just talk about capitalism or male privilege

I cannot recommend this book enough

Amelia Westlake released on 1 April 2018 and can be found across the book world!

Book news

Aussie YA Bloggers Secret Santa Blog Hop 2016 

Once again this year I am participating in the secret Santa gift exchange. To commence the hop let’s answer some questions.

What are you top 5 favourite books this year?

In no particular order. 

  • Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven 
  • The Last Star by Rick Yancey 
  • Yellow by Megan Jacobsen 
  • On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta 

What are you top 5 favourite Aussie YA books this year?

Okay so I didn’t have time to read many books this year. But some of my all time Aussie books are:

  • The Captive Prince series by C.S.Pacat 
  • Yellow by Megan Jacobsen 
  • On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • The yearbook committee by Sarah Ayoub 

How did you go with your Goodreads challenge?

I surprisingly did really well. To be fair I set myself a really small goal which I knew I could achieve due to my busy year. So yeah. Pretty good 

What is your favourite blogging moment of 2016? 

Being a hermit in South Australia means I don’t get to attend many bookish events. Although my favourite moment would have to be when Tommy Wallach’s publisher recognised me at his book signing. Read all about it here!

What are your blogging goals for 2017?

  • Post at least twice a week 
  • Be more active on Twitter and other social media 
  • Attend more bookish events which should get more possible next year hopefully 

What books are you looking forward to in 2017?

SO MANY books to look forward to!

  • 3rd Illuminae books by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff 
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han 
  • An Ember in the Ashes #3 by Sabaa Tahir 

What is your favourite thing about the Aussie YA Blogging Communtiy?

I just love how everyone is so accepting and inclusive. I’m always amazed by how we’ve managed to create something so sweet in our little corner of the world.

Three clues for my santee:

  • You love food
  • You recently reviewed a contemporary novel 
  • You are older than me 

Good luck in guessing who my santee is and I hope you enjoyed my post!